Welcome to three of the countdown to Julia Child's 100th birthday! Each week leading up to August 15th, a Julia Child recipe is being released to participating bloggers. Last week, we made chocolate mousse, this week coq au vin. I've still got my fingers crossed for beef bourguignon.
I have to (humbly) admit that I thought I knew my way around a coq au vin. We had it on the menu at the Supper Club during April and made it again last week for quests upon special request. I think today it might have turned out the best.
I need to know, do you also find it impossible to follow a recipe? I can't seem ever to get more than one step in before switching things and altering things to my liking. I know Julia Child was an expert in French cooking, and I am, well umm, not exactly an expert. At all. I still couldn't help myself from tinkering with the recipe.
I've given you both the original recipe and the one used for the coq au vin in the photos here. Use hers, use mine, take bits from each or make up your own. Or check out A Snippet of Thyme's version, it's delicious.
Coq au Vin
Serves 1-2 people (can easily be doubled, tripled, quadrupled)
- 3-4 pieces of chicken thighs or drumsticks with skin on
- 3 strips of bacon, cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 2 carrots, cut into 3 pieces each
- 1 small handful pearl onions or shallots, skins removed
- 1 large handful small button mushrooms
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup red wine
- 1/4 cup chicken stock
- Salt and pepper
- In a heavy-bottomed pan (cast iron works perfectly) cook the bacon over medium heat. Remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon and set it aside. Leave the bacon fat in the pan
- Dry the chicken thoroughly and it add to pan skin side-side down. Gently move the chicken around to ensure that the skin doesn't stick. Cook for 5 minutes then remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside. Leave the fat in the pan.
- Add the carrots, onions and mushrooms to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, or until everything starts to brown. Remove them from pan with a slotted spoon. Drain all but two tablespoons of the fat.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and put back into the pan, skin-side up. Arrange the carrots, onions, mushrooms, chopped tomato, garlic and bacon around the chicken. Pour the wine and chicken broth over top.
- Bring the pan to a simmer and cook until chicken is no longer pink, about 20 minutes.
- Serve with mashed potatoes and a salad.
Coq au vin might sound fancy, but it is really just a simple chicken dish that anyone can master. Don't be intimidated, this recipe is very easy to follow.
- 2 1/2 – 3 pounds frying chicken parts
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3 cups sliced onion
- Salt and pepper
- 1-2 large garlic cloves, pureed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 3 cups young red wine (Zinfandel, Macon or Chianti)
- 1 or more cups chicken stock
- Beurre manie (1 1/2 tablespoons each flour and softened butter, worked into a paste)
- Fresh parsley sprigs
- Dry the chicken thoroughly and brown it in the hot oil and butter for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside, leaving fat in the pan.
- Stir the onions into the pan and sauté over moderate heat until fairly tender, then raise heat and brown lightly. Drain in a sieve set over a bowl to remove excess fat.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper and return it to the pan. Add browned onion, garlic, bay, thyme, and tomato. Pour in wine and enough stock to barely cover ingredients. Bring to a simmer and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.
- Remove the chicken to a side dish and spoon off excess fat from the sauce. Pour the juices and the onions into a saucepan and taste very carefully for strength and seasoning. Boil down rapidly if it needs strength, adding more seasonings if you think them necessary.
- Off the heat whisk in the beurre manie to make a lightly thickened sauce. Bring briefly to a simmer.
- Add the chicken to a casserole and baste with sauce and onions.
Excerpted from The Way to Cook by Julia Child. Copyright © 1989 by Julia Child. Reprinted with permission from the publisher Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.